Over the past 30 years Monster Cable has given the world fat cables and beefy gold-plated connectors for its home audio and video components, but in recent times they’ve also been releasing some more eco-friendly power devices under the Monster GreenPower moniker. Some models have lots of places to plug in your devices, some have remote controls or the ability to protect your coaxial and Ethernet lines from power surges, but all of them have a “Green” power-saving feature that could pare down your desktop energy use by a lot. We take one of them -the AV775G – and put it through the paces.
We tore open a box with the AV775G version of the Monster Green PowerCenter inside and dumped out an instruction manual, some labels to help identify our various devices’ power cords, some extra coaxial cable, and the Green Power unit itself. With the spin of a twist-tie we had the power center’s 6-ft cable uncoiled and we jammed its gold-plated plug into the wall. Three lights on the unit glowed to confirm that all systems were GO.
This surge protector has seven outlets on it, each of which is labeled with a device type like “Receiver/HDTV,” “Amplifier,” “Accessory 1,” or “Cable/Sat.” Monster’s idea here is to help you keep better track of which device’s plug you’re messing with when you’re down on the ground fussing with your power supply. Two green LEDs indicate that the unit is grounded (three-prong plug is a must) and that its protective circuits are in working order. Gold-plated coaxial cable connections let you plug in and protect your TV/Internet cable line from surges.
Inside, Monster has used ceramic, power-absorbing circuitry that they claim is more fireproof than the plastic alternatives. The instruction booklet says an alarm will beep if the AV775G has suddenly “sacrificed” its high-tech electronic guts “to protect connected equipment from a catastrophic surge.” In such an event the Green Power unit must be replaced, having died a noble death.
But hopefully this doesn’t happen before you get to try the nominal feature, the one that gives this Monster Power line its “green” marketing cachet. For energy saving benefit, Monster placed one control outlet at the head of the unit which will switch three other outlets on the power strip on or off when it’s triggered.
For example you can plug your monitor into the control outlet and plug your amplifier into one of the switched outlets so that whenever your monitor is turned off/goes to sleep, the power to your amplifier is cut as well. At that point the amplifier can’t even draw “standby” power—a subtle but major cause of electricity waste on a worldwide scale. You might also use the switched outlets for AC adaptors (also called “wall warts’), which are notorious for drawing “phantom current” that tends to bloat electricity bills over time.
The most complex part of setting up the Monster Green Power center is figuring out which device you want to put where. Monster’s labels suggest you plug your receiver/TV into the control outlet, plug your amplifier and DVD player into the controlled outlets, and run your other stuff on the un-switched outlets. Then you plug it into the wall and switch it on before forgetting about it (if all goes well).